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CrisisWatch Database

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Mexico

  |  1 Jul 2015

Unchanged

Mid-term elections 7 June saw President Peña Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) maintain control of lower house along with Green Party allies. Independent candidate won a campaign for governor for the first time with victory of Jaime Rodriguez, “El Bronco”, in Nuevo Leon. Over twenty killed, including at least four candidates, in campaign-related violence, particularly acute in Guerrero state, where demonstrators burned ballots in two municipalities prior to vote, and one student was shot dead in Tlapa town on election day. Human rights groups 16 June reported that armed men attacked over 100 migrants late-May in Sonora state near U.S. border; at least thirteen escaped, others remain missing, authorities 2 June reportedly discovered three bodies. Rights groups 18 June denounced another attack on Central American migrants in southern state Veracruz; over 40 escaped, including one who had been shot.

Haiti

  |  1 Jul 2015

Unchanged

Electoral Council (CEP) 12 June released final list of parliamentary and presidential candidates: 56 candidates running for president, over 1,700 candidates for legislative elections; high level politicians including former PM Laurent Lamothe and former FM Pierre Duly Brutus excluded from list. Organization of American States to send electoral observation mission. Insecurity reportedly increased in anticipation of elections, with violent unrest reported in several neighbourhoods of Port-au-Prince 4, 5 June. Continued fears of massive deportations from Dominican Republic as country’s program to legalise Haitian immigrants ended 17 June; Dominican interior minister stated half of 500,000 Haitians living illegally in Dominican Republic had started residency application process, only some 10,000 met requirements. PM Evans Paul 26 June warned Dominican Republic is creating humanitarian crisis, noting some 14,000 Haitians crossed back into Haiti in less than a week.

Guatemala

  |  1 Jul 2015

Unchanged

Amid widening corruption scandal, and continued protests calling for President Perez Molina to resign, Supreme Court 10 June ruled Congress could open investigation to determine whether president should be stripped of immunity and face impeachment; Constitutional Court 30 June denied president immunity from prosecution. President 18 June reiterated refusal to resign, called accusations political, spurious. Constitutional Court same day suspended congressional investigation into possible stripping president’s immunity following petition by lawyer close to Perez Molina questioning legitimacy of congressional investigation; said insufficient evidence to warrant congressional inquiry. Prosecutors 18 June requested Supreme Court lift immunity of two opposition presidential candidates for Sept elections, Sandra Torres and Manuel Baldizón, over vote-buying allegations. High Risk Court 11 June rescheduled retrial of former dictator Efraín Ríos Montt – whose May 2013 conviction on charges of genocide and war crimes was overturned – to 23 July. Ríos Montt’s lead Attorney Francisco Palomo killed 2 June by gunman in Guatemala City.

Colombia

  |  1 Jul 2015

Unchanged

Govt and FARC negotiators 4 June reached first partial agreement on transitional justice, defines “Commission for the clarification of truth, co-existence and non-repetition” as independent, impartial and extrajudicial mechanism; negotiations to continue 3 July amid growing expectations that a separate agreement on reparations could be announced soon. Increase in violence that followed 22 May collapse of FARC’s unilateral ceasefire continued, representing worst escalation in years; clashes and spike in guerrilla attacks on oil and energy infrastructure caused significant environmental damage and large humanitarian impact, including mass displacements, power cuts and mobility restrictions; South and SW regions most affected. Killing of two police in Nariño 12 June sparked outrage. Security forces reportedly “neutralised” 278 guerrilla members between 21 May and 17 June. Post-conflict Minister Óscar Naranjo reportedly stepped down 17 June over frustrations with job. New Defence Minister Luis Carlos Villegas took office 22 June, swapping positions with Juan Carlos Pinzón who will take over as ambassador to U.S. Army 14 June confirmed death of Marcos, highest ranking ELN leader killed in combat in recent years. Peace commissioner Sergio Jaramillo 11 June repeated govt remains open to talks with ELN if guerrillas accept disarming after agreement is reached. ELN 29 June took responsibility for 22 June attack on Black Hawk helicopter in Teorama (Norte de Santander) which killed at least four soldiers. Attorney general 23 June summoned four retired generals, including a former army commander, to respond to allegations of involvement in extrajudicial executions.

Venezuela

  |  1 Jul 2015

Unchanged

National Electoral Council 22 June announced congressional elections to be held 6 Dec. Jailed opposition leader Leopoldo López ended month-long hunger strike next day; demands had included establishment of election date. Jailed opposition mayor Daniel Ceballos ended hunger strike 11 June for health reasons. Plight of political prisoners drew international condemnation and visits by foreign politicians including in June former Spanish PM and delegation of Brazilian senators urging their release and free elections; govt dismissed them as enemies of Venezuela, prevented them visiting political prisoners. Economic crisis continued to deepen: govt 11 June reportedly withdrew another $1.5bn from fund with IMF. Relations with Guyana and Colombia worsened after President Maduro 27 May issued decrees setting up offshore defence zones in disputed areas. U.S. Asst Sec State Thomas Shannon and President of National Assembly Diosdado Cabello met in Haiti 13 June for meeting apparently aimed at reducing bilateral tensions.

Mexico

  |  1 Jun 2015

Unchanged

Defence minister 1 May initiated “Operation Jalisco” mobilising 6,000 military forces, federal police and prosecutors in fight against Jalisco Cartel-New Generation. Cartel same day launched series of coordinated attacks, setting fire to banks and petrol stations, using flaming cars and buses as roadblocks at over 30 locations. National Security Commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido 2 May reported several soldiers killed when Jalisco Cartel-New Generation gunmen shot down army helicopter with rocket-propelled grenade. Cartel also reportedly launched attacks in neighbouring Michoacan, Guanajuato and Colima states. Federal police 22 May killed 42 presumed cartel members on ranch in Michoacán near border with Jalisco, following what authorities described as three-hour gun battle; one police officer killed. Govt human rights commission 26 May said it had launched inquiry, amid questioning from analysts and relatives of dead over lopsided death toll. Authorities 27 May arrested senior Jalisco Cartel-New Generation operative Victor Manuel Garcia Orozco. Campaigning continued ahead of 7 June elections to choose 500 federal deputies, seventeen state legislatures, nine governors and over 300 mayors; three candidates killed during month in Michoacán, Tabasco and Guerrero states.

Haiti

  |  1 Jun 2015

Unchanged

Electoral Provisional Council (CEP) 20 May announced some 70 candidates had filed to run in long-delayed Oct presidential elections, including last-minute submission by Laurent Lamothe, former PM and close ally of President Martelly. Amid CEP review of candidate qualifications, controversy surrounding Lamothe and other former government officials unable to obtain parliamentary “clean bill of health” audit report; Lamothe denied allegations of mismanagement of funds while minister of planning/FM. CEP 15 May announced 1,517 candidates for Aug Chamber of Deputies and Senate elections; First Lady Sophia Martelly’s candidacy denied 13 May partly due to lack of audit report and partly allegation she voted in previous election despite being a dual citizen, prohibited under Haitian law. UNSG 14 May proposed 22% cut to MINUSTAH’s budget; along with restructuring of MINUSTAH, raises concerns sharp cuts in number of peacekeepers before elections could yield potential security vacuum jeopardizing polls. Massive wave of deportation of Haitian illegal immigrants continued: Bahamas late April announced plan to deport 290 Haitians; Dominican Republic denied extension of program to legalise Haitian migrants.

Guatemala

  |  1 Jun 2015

Unchanged

President Pérez Molina 21 May purged cabinet amid corruption scandals and nationwide protests demanding end to corruption. Intelligence chief, energy and environment ministers and deputy interior minister were removed, interior minister resigned. Despite changes pressure on president mounted: president of national bar association 25 May joined civil society leaders calling for his resignation. UN-backed International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CIGIC) and attorney general’s office struck another blow against criminal organisations within state with 20 May arrest of sixteen high-level officials of Guatemalan Institute for Social Security for allegedly carrying out fraudulent contracts; includes central bank chief and head of social security agency. VP Roxanna Baldetti resigned 8 May following mid-April corruption scandal unveiled by CIGIC involving her private secretary; attorney general’s office secured judicial order prohibiting her from leaving country. Constitutional judge Alejandro Maldonado named new VP.

Colombia

  |  1 Jun 2015

Deteriorated

37th round of negotiations between govt and FARC continued amid most serious crisis yet triggered by 22 May suspension of FARC’s five-month-old unilateral ceasefire. Suspension followed 21 May govt air raid in Guapi (Cauca) that left at least 26 guerrillas dead, including one former member of FARC’s negotiating team; attack also displaced some 400 inhabitants. Violence accelerated with military operations in Antioquia and Chocó; leader of 18th FARC front killed in latter. FARC bombing 24 May in Tumaco (Nariño) left one police officer dead, two wounded. Guarantor countries Cuba and Norway 27 May called on parties to continue negotiations on remaining agenda items, including definitive bilateral ceasefire. Delegations informed 29 May about progress in implementing joint humanitarian demining pilot in Briceño (Antioquia). Earlier, in sign of continued commitment to peace process, President Santos 20 May named FM María Ángela Holguin and well-connected businessman Gonzalo Restrepo to negotiating team. Long-expected position swap between Defence Minister Juan Carlos Pinzón and Colombian ambassador to U.S. Juan Carlos Villegas officially announced 19 May. Govt peace commissioner Sergio Jaramillo 13 May confirmed Santos consulted U.S. about Simón Trinidad, high ranking FARC leader serving 60-year sentence in U.S., joining talks. Santos 11 May confirmed he authorised late-April meeting in Havana between ELN leader Gabino and FARC leader Timochenko. ELN Central Command 17 May rejected responsibility for landmine incident in Convención (Norte de Santander), offered localised ELN ceasefire to facilitate enquiry. National Drug Council 14 May endorsed Health Ministry recommendation to suspend controversial aerial coca spraying program.

Venezuela

  |  1 Jun 2015

Unchanged

Foreign reserves at lowest level since 2003 as scarcity of basic goods, including medicines, continued to rise. With organised crime thriving, some 2,000 police and National Guard (GNB) troops deployed 14 May to take back Maracay district from criminals; official reports claim three criminals killed in six-hour battle, 200 arrested; unofficial reports claimed at least ten deaths. Opposition Democratic Unity (MUD) alliance 17 May held primary elections in 37 of country’s 81 electoral districts to determine unity candidates for parliamentary elections planned for late 2015; over half a million voted, with Primero Justicia winning most votes. Electoral authority’s (CNE) decision not to use manual voting logs in election raised concerns it might do same in parliamentary elections, making it hard to detect fake votes. Court 13 May banned 22 media owners and editors from leaving country pending trial for defamation after National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello filed libel suit 21 April against media reports alleging U.S. prosecutors were investigating him for ties to drug gangs. Wall Street Journal 18 May reported U.S. prosecutors and drug enforcement officers pursuing trafficking cases against several high-ranking Venezuelans, including Cabello.

Mexico

  |  30 Apr 2015

Unchanged

Cartel-related violence increased in Jalisco state: fifteen state police officers killed 6 April when convoy attacked by members of Jalisco Cartel, New Generation; gunmen same day murdered municipal police chief in Zacoalco de Torres. Security forces 17 April captured José Tiburcio Hernández Fuentes, alias “El Gafe”, leader of Gulf Cartel in border city Reynosa; federal authorities same day announced arrest of Jesús Salas Aguayo, alias “El Chuyín”, leader of Jáarez Cartel in northern Chihuahua state. Investigative journalist report published 18 April alleged police killed 16 during Jan protest by former vigilantes demanding payment from govt for incorporation into Rural Police force in Apatzingán town, Michoacán state. Congress 21 April approved new National Anticorruption System, designed to give greater authority to investigative bodies against diversion of public funds; opposition criticised law for failing to assure new entity’s independence.

Haiti

  |  30 Apr 2015

Unchanged

Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) 1 April published list of 126 political parties registered to contest long-overdue elections. FM Duly Brutus 6 April submitted resignation letter to present himself as candidate in 25 Oct presidential election. Election officials 23 April stated some 2,000 candidates registered for 119 seats in Chamber of Deputies and twenty open Senate seats. Concerns persisted over increase in violence ahead of elections: protest over delayed electrification program sparked violence 14 April in border city Ouanaminthe as armed protesters assaulted Dominican truck drivers and police officers, shot dead Chilean UN soldier. Tensions continued with Dominican Republic on issue of Haitian migration: Dominican govt tightened immigration policy, persisting with deportation of undocumented migrants and children of unauthorised citizens. Dominicans in Moca 10 April attacked Haitian camp, forcing some 300 to flee.

Guatemala

  |  30 Apr 2015

Unchanged

Thousands demonstrated 25 April in Guatemala City’s Plaza Mayor demanding end to corruption; many called on president and VP to resign. President Pérez Molina 23 April asked UN for two-year extension of Commission Against Impunity (CICIG); decision came as president struggled to manage political crisis sparked by CICIG investigation into massive customs fraud allegedly perpetrated by tax officials and orchestrated by VP’s private secretary. Authorities 16 April arrested 21 people, including current and former heads of tax authority; VP’s secretary still fugitive. Revelations galvanised support for CICIG across political spectrum. Official presidential candidate Alejandro Sinibaldi 19 April left ruling party, citing corruption scandal, called for creation of national coalition. Activist opposed to silver mining project in Santa Rosa department murdered 5 April by armed men, fourth mining opponent killed in 2015.

Colombia

  |  30 Apr 2015

Deteriorated

36th round of Govt-FARC negotiations began 28 April amid high political tensions following 14 April FARC ambush in Buenes Aires, Cauca region, which killed eleven soldiers and wounded twenty; two FARC members also killed. President Santos 15 April declared attack violation of group’s Dec 2014 unilateral ceasefire, announced resumption of airstrikes days after renewal of March decision to temporarily suspend bombings. FARC 16 April said incident was “legitimate reaction” to continued counter-insurgent operation. Attack had no discernible immediate impact on ongoing negotiations: 35th cycle concluded as planned 20 April, with FARC reporting significant progress on detailed protocol for implementation of early-March joint humanitarian demining initiative. However attack raised risks of new military escalation and triggered political backlash. In 17 April speech, Santos suggested being open to calls to impose deadline on peace process, widely perceived to be stalling. FARC 20 April weakened conditions for abstaining from violence, from not being attacked, to not being “permanently harassed” by military, tried to argue “offensive actions” can be part of its “legitimate defence”. Santos administration 14 April substantially modified its proposal on controversial military justice reform to appease criticism from human rights groups who argued original proposal could lead to impunity for serious international crimes. Interior Minister Cristo 21 April denied plans to seek referendum on peace process in Oct local elections. ELN leader Gabino 24 April said during interview 80% of future negotiation agenda has been agreed on, but doubts about swift opening of formal negotiations persist. Health minister 27 April recommended suspending controversial aerial spraying of coca crops; fumigations continue, pending final presidential decision.

Venezuela

  |  30 Apr 2015

Unchanged

On eve of 10-11 April Summit of the Americas, group of 25 former-Ibero-American heads of state, led by former Spanish PM Aznar, 9 April issued statement deploring deepening social, economic and political crisis in Venezuela, called for restoration of democracy, human rights and rule of law. Resolutions in similar vein from Chilean and Colombian senates mid-April; Brazilian President Roussef critical of Maduro during 9 April interview. Spanish lawmakers 14 April called on Venezuela to release jailed opposition leaders. Maduro 10 April claimed some 13 million signatures collected in support of revocation of U.S. President Obama’s 9 March executive decree imposing sanctions on seven Venezuelan officials and declaring Venezuela “exceptional threat” to U.S. national security; rights groups allege many signatures obtained under duress. Criticism from opposition Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) intensified after National Electoral Council 15 April announced redistribution of parliamentary seats based on population estimates, effectively stripping seats from opposition-dominated districts.

Mexico

  |  1 Apr 2015

Unchanged

President Enrique Peña Nieto 2 March said capture of Knights Templar cartel leader Servando “La Tuta” Gomez in Michoacán state late Feb confirmed govt’s security policies were working. Violence in region continued: councilman from leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) found 1 March in municipal garbage dump, two weeks after disappearing; navy admiral killed 4 March in port city Lázaro Cárdenas. Judge 11 March ordered release of two rival vigilante group leaders arrested Dec 2014 in Michoacán state; both vowed to keep fighting if attacked by rival group. Federal forces 4 March captured Omar Treviño aka Z-42, leader of “Los Zetas” drug cartel, in wealthy Monterrey suburb. Govt troops 5 March arrested some 14 federal police officers on charges of kidnapping in Ciudad Victoria, capital of Tamaulipas state. PRD leader running for mayor of Ahuacuotzingo, Guerrero, found decapitated 10 March, day after kidnap by armed group. Five members of elite gendarmerie unit killed 19 March in ambush in western Jalisco state. Hundreds of farmworkers arrested in clashes over ongoing strike for better conditions in border state Baja California. UN report published early-March concluded use of torture to obtain confessions remains widespread among Mexican security forces. Senate approved nomination of Eduardo Medina Mora to Supreme Court; critics said appointment of controversial former intelligence chief would undermine judicial independence.

Haiti

  |  1 Apr 2015

Unchanged

President Martelly 13 March approved election calendar proposed by Provisional Electoral Council (CEP). Despite criticism from opposition parties, some 192 parties and movements 16-20 March registered to participate in parliamentary elections to be held 9 August, local and presidential elections 25 Oct, possible run-off elections 27 Dec. Ambassador of Haiti to UN Denis Regis 18 March expressed concerns over renewed insecurity as threat to election process, requested reassessment of MINUSTAH’s timetable for withdrawal of military troops, set to be reduced by half by summer, although some additional police and helicopters have been authorised but not deployed. Organisation of American States (OAS) SG José Miguel Insulza 24 March reiterated willingness to deploy election observation mission. Platform of Haitian Human Rights Organisations 24 March expressed concern over increased insecurity amid spike in attacks targeting Catholic nuns and churches. FM met with Dominican Republic counterpart 27 March to discuss temporary program to legalise at least 200,000 Haitians, but fears remain about impact of discriminatory legislation against Dominican nationals of Haitian origin.

Guatemala

  |  1 Apr 2015

Unchanged

U.S. VP Biden 2 March met with presidents of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras to discuss aid package aiming to stem undocumented migration to U.S.; stressed support for extending mandate of International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG). President Pérez Molina 4 March said govt would not accept “impositions” in return for additional funding. Three journalists killed in SW 10 and 13 March, underscoring insecurity in region. Director of Prensa Libre 12 March said Danilo López, one of slain journalists, had received threats related to his reporting on municipal corruption.

Colombia

  |  1 Apr 2015

Improved

33rd round of talks between govt and FARC ended 7 March with agreement on joint humanitarian demining scheme; implementation initially to focus on Meta and Antioquia. President Santos 10 March ordered 30-day suspension of bombardments on guerrilla camps; move helped bolster FARC’s unilateral ceasefire amid ongoing counter-insurgency operations, including 9 March killing of José David Suárez alias Becerro, leader of 57th Front. Five high-ranking members of armed forces 5 March joined “technical sub-commission” tasked with preparing bilateral ceasefire, FARC disarmament. 34th cycle of govt-FARC negotiations ended 27 March with discussion focused on transitional justice. In nod to FARC, Santos 6 March denied extradition to U.S. of paramilitary leader Julián Bolívar, citing his collaboration with truth telling, reconciliation, justice; also suspended extradition of Manuel Pérez Martínez alias El Cura, brother of FARC negotiating team member Fabían Ramírez. In response to recent spate of attacks, Santos 10 March announced intensified operations against ELN; group blamed, inter alia, for 12 March bomb attack on police in Bogotá that left seven wounded. ELN 16 March accused govt of violating confidentiality rules governing ongoing exploratory talks; in positive gesture, liberated four kidnapped geologists 10 March. Two leading figures from Conservative Party, Andrés Pastrana and Marta Lucía Ramírez, accepted Santos’ invitation to join newly created Peace Advisory Commission early March. Constitutional Court president Jorge Pretelt 4 March temporarily vacated position amid growing scandal involving allegations he had requested money in return for influencing court decision; also alleged to own land that is part of restitution claim by victims of paramilitary displacement. Santos 24 March proposed wide-ranging judicial reform in light of scandal.

Venezuela

  |  1 Apr 2015

Unchanged

U.S. President Obama 9 March signed executive decree declaring Venezuela “exceptional threat” to U.S. national security; announced sanctions against seven officials including senior military officers. President Maduro same day appointed one of seven, director of National Intelligence Service (Sebin) Maj. Gen. Gustavo González López, interior minister; launched “anti-imperialist” campaign, including extensive military exercises; and demanded revocation of Obama’s decree, which he claimed is prelude to invasion. UNASUR 14 March issued statement requesting derogation of U.S. decree, describing it as “threat of interference against sovereignty”. National Assembly 16 March passed law enabling Maduro to legislate by decree until 31 Dec, purportedly to defend country against foreign intervention. Former Spanish PM Gonzales announced he will advise Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma during their prosecutions.

Mexico

  |  2 Mar 2015

Unchanged

UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances 13 Feb criticised authorities for failing to prevent or investigate forced disappearances including kidnappings linked to police and military forces. Tensions in Guerrero state over Sept disappearance of 43 students continued, including clashes with police 24 Feb in resort town Acapulco that left one person dead. Over 30 reportedly died in first three weeks of Feb in shootouts between security forces and rival criminal gangs in Tamaulipas state. President Peña Nieto 3 Feb appointed political ally Virgilio Andrade Martinez as head of civil service, functions include overseeing investigations into corruption and conflicts of interest including current scandals involving president’s family and finance secretary. Police 28 Feb arrested Servando “La Tuta” Gomez, leader of Knights Templar drug cartel, in Michoacan state.

  • Crisis Group Latin America Report N°54, Back from the Brink: Saving Ciudad Juárez, 25 Feb. 2015. For lessons on crime prevention, Mexico can look to the example of Ciudad Juárez, the world’s “murder capital” in 2008-2010. Government and citizens worked together to bring violence down by strengthening local law enforcement and addressing socio-economic inequalities. These initiatives should be monitored, refined and expanded if Mexico is to overcome its country-wide crisis of confidence at all levels.
  • “UN report criticizes Mexico on enforced disappearances”, AP, 13 Feb. 2015.

Haiti

  |  2 Mar 2015

Unchanged

Provisional Electoral Council proposed legislative elections in July, presidential in October; opposition parties protested lack of consultation, President Martelly yet to issue executive decree confirming dates. Police 9 Feb violently dispersed anti-govt demonstrators in capital Port-au-Prince protesting delayed elections, high fuel prices. Minibus union early Feb called two-day strike to protest high fuel prices. Resurgence of gang violence in Cité Soleil continued, at least eight killed in second half of month.

Guatemala

  |  2 Mar 2015

Unchanged

President Pérez Molina and El Salvador President Sánchez Cerén 5 Feb agreed to create high-level bilateral commission on security and justice to combat organised crime; also promised to boost economic growth through infrastructure investments. Civil-society organisations 1 Feb called for extension of International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala’s (CICIG) mandate, due to expire Sept 2015.

Colombia

  |  2 Mar 2015

Unchanged

33rd cycle of govt-FARC negotiations began 25 Feb. Previous round of talks saw first meeting of joint “technical sub-commission” on “the end of the conflict” 4 Feb. Negotiators 10 Feb received delayed final report of Historical Commission on the Conflicts and its Victims: no consensus on origins or causes of conflict, but FARC praised 800-page report for ending “official distortion” of history. FARC 12 Feb announced minimum recruitment age raised from fifteen to seventeen, 16 Feb said thirteen current under-fifteen members would be released soon. Former president Gaviria 16 Feb suggested transitional justice model covering FARC members, state forces and “non-combatant sectors” including politicians and businessmen. Proposal received broad political support, but also triggered concerns over impunity for serious crimes. President Santos 19 Feb said some 13,000 judicial processes underway could be covered by transitional justice scheme. U.S. 20 Feb announced appointment of Bernard Aronson, former U.S. Asst Sec State for Inter-American Affairs, as special envoy to talks. Prospects for new talks with ELN suffered setback with 24 Feb confirmation of kidnapping of four employees of geology contracting firm. ELN 11 Feb released Dutch kidnapping victim, 1 March released mayor of Alto Baudó, who they had kidnapped over corruption allegations. Supreme Court 27 Feb convicted former head of secret police DAS, María del Pilar Hurtado, for her role in illegal wiretapping operations during Uribe govt. Clashes during protests in Cauca dept left 44 indigenous and twelve police injured to date.

Venezuela

  |  2 Mar 2015

Deteriorated

Govt 12 Feb said it had thwarted U.S.-backed opposition plot to overthrow President Maduro: some 40 air force members accused of involvement, several arrested. Maduro accused entire opposition Democratic Unity (MUD) leadership of knowing of plot, claimed Primero Justicia party coordinator Julio Borges selected coup bombing targets; accused Caracas mayor and MUD faction leader Antonio Ledezma of playing key role. Ledezma arrested 19 Feb by intelligence agents; U.S., Colombia and Chile expressed concern, human rights bodies and NGOs criticised arrest. MUD said it fears govt may be seeking to create conditions in which it can outlaw opposition parties. Govt also alleged that Borges and Ledezma planned murder of opposition Voluntad Popular party leader Leopoldo López, confined to military prison for past year following accusations he planned violent demonstrations to overthrow Maduro. MUD faction leaders López, Ledezma and former legislator Maria Corina Machado 12 Feb published manifesto calling for “transitional govt”. Fourteen-year-old boy killed 24 Feb during anti-govt student demonstration in San Cristobal, Táchira: President Maduro promised full investigation, policeman arrested and charged with murder. Five other students killed during Feb in Táchira, Mérida and Caracas, some allegedly shot after participating in protests. Month also saw relations further worsening with U.S., with implementation of sanctions against Venezuelan officials, and with Spain.

Mexico

  |  2 Feb 2015

Unchanged

Federal forces 6 Jan clashed with vigilante groups who had taken over city hall of Apatzingán, Michoacán, leaving nine dead. Soldiers 12 Jan used tear gas to disperse parents and protestors trying to enter military base near Iguala, Guerrero in search for students from Ayotzinapa teaching college, missing since Sept. Attorney General Murillo Karam 27 Jan officially declared all 43 students dead, said confessions, witness testimony and physical evidence showed that members of criminal gang had killed them, incinerated bodies and then bagged and thrown ashes in river. Mass graves continue to be found elsewhere in Guerrero region, including ten bodies and eleven decapitated heads 6 Jan. Six dead and eleven wounded 21 Jan in Tamaulipas state during clashes between gunmen and state police. Journalist Moisés Sanchez found dead 24 Jan after being abducted from his home in Veracruz; former municipal police officer confessed to involvement, allegedly at request of mayor.

Haiti

  |  2 Feb 2015

Unchanged

Following failure to pass new electoral law aimed at ending political standoff and enabling long-delayed elections to take place, parliament’s mandate expired 12 Jan; parliament dissolved 13 Jan; and President Martelly began ruling by decree. Martelly 11 Jan reached last-minute deal with opposition to form broad coalition govt, but left-wing Fanmi Lavalas party not included in agreement, accused Martelly of abuse of power. After deal reached with opposition, new “pluralist” govt formed 20 Jan, headed by former presidential candidate Evans Paul; nine-member Provisional Electoral Council installed 23 Jan to organise long-delayed elections. Opposition leaders accused president of failing to deliver consensus govt as president’s allies appointed to key positions. Anti-govt demonstrators again took to streets 8, 11, 22 and 23 Jan demanding Martelly’s resignation. UNSC representatives visited 23-26 Jan to “assess pre-electoral situation”.

Guatemala

  |  2 Feb 2015

Unchanged

Former police Commander Pedro García Arredondo convicted 19 Jan for 1980 attack on Spanish embassy in which 37 died. High-risk court 5 Jan suspended retrial of ex-dictator Efaín Ríos Montt for genocide and war crimes; Ríos Montt 13 Jan failed to appear at hearing on case 13 Jan due to ill health. President Pérez Molina 7 Jan promised decision in March regarding future of International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), scheduled to end operations in Sept 2015. President said in his opinion commission’s work is “coming to an end”. Govt 26 Jan said Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras will need $15bn over next four years to stem illegal migration; proposed “Alliance for Prosperity” calls for investments in border security, highways, electricity and industry.

Venezuela

  |  2 Feb 2015

Unchanged

Economic crisis continued to worsen, with growing anger over shortages of basic goods; govt continues to blame private sector, however polls show majority blame President Maduro. During two-week trip to China, Russia and Middle East Maduro apparently failed to obtain fresh loans to bridge fiscal gap or secure action by OPEC partners to reverse falling oil prices, despite his claim to have obtained $20bn commitments from China. Signs of greater unity within opposition MUD coalition, overcoming disagreements over whether to take to streets demanding Maduro’s resignation; factions agreed to mobilise protests while avoiding violence. Thousands marched through Caracas 24 Jan in opposition-led protest. Catholic bishops’ conference issued “pastoral exhortation” demanding govt change course and calling for freeing of political prisoners, respect for human rights, transparent institutions; govt dismissed exhortation as party-political document. Authorities 23 Jan prevented former presidents of Colombia and Chile from visiting detained opposition leader Leopoldo López; their respective govts supported visit and demanded respect, Colombia said it hoped for López’s prompt release. Leamsy Salazar, security official close to national assembly president Diosdado Cabello, arrived in U.S. 26 Jan allegedly to give evidence that Cabello and other high ranking Venezuelan officials are involved in drug trafficking.

Colombia

  |  2 Feb 2015

Unchanged

As FARC continued to maintain unilateral ceasefire, in force since 20 Dec, intensity of conflict has dropped significantly, though opposition alleges FARC continues extortion in stronghold regions. Despite apparent (but not officially acknowledged) reduction of counter-insurgency operations, FARC repeatedly claimed ongoing military attacks threaten ceasefire. President Santos 5 Jan called for ending “disconnection” between Havana talks and violent dynamics in Colombia; 14 Jan ordered negotiators to start discussions on bilateral ceasefire as soon as possible. Parties in Havana 18 Jan agreed next negotiation cycle, due to begin 2 Feb, to focus on mandate and methodology of joint technical sub-commission assigned with proposing ways of ending conflict. Efforts to open parallel peace talks with ELN progressing slowly. ELN 7 Jan reaffirmed willingness to engage in new negotiations and announced that guerrillas would consider disarming in case of successful talks; also made public nomination of group’s possibly most powerful figure Pablo to Central Command (Coce). Coce member Antonio García 16 Jan said parties remain divided over details, but had reached broad agreement on six point agenda. Santos caused stir 26 Jan when not “ruling out” that demobilised FARC members could join a future rural police force; right-wing opposition strongly rejects this option.

Mexico

  |  5 Jan 2015

Unchanged

Protests in Guerrero following Sept disappearance of 43 students from Ayotzinapa teachers college continued, including takeovers of state’s electoral institute, radio stations, several highways and police academy. Mexico City police chief resigned 5 Dec amid criticism over handling of protests in capital. Scientists dispute prosecutors’ claim that students’ bodies were incinerated at local dump. Investigation by magazine Proceso published 14 Dec claimed federal police knew about attacks while they were happening but did nothing to stop them. Shootout between rival vigilante groups in La Ruana town, Michoacán state 16 Dec left 11 dead. Those involved included members of rural police force created by govt in April under agreement to disarm “self-defence” groups, and who blocked highways two days earlier demanding authorities to take action against criminal gangs. New ties emerged 11 Dec between finance minister Luis Videgaray and govt contractor at centre of influence-peddling allegations. Raúl Salinas de Gortari, brother of former president, cleared of embezzlement charges 12 Dec. Alleged leader of Jalisco New Generation Cartel Omar Espejo arrested 18 Dec in connection with Nov 2013 disappearance of two federal police.

Colombia

  |  5 Jan 2015

Improved

FARC 17 Dec declared unilateral ceasefire entering into force 20 Dec, to be indefinite unless military attacks guerrilla forces; requested national and international monitors to verify ceasefire, including ICRC, UNASUR, Community of Latin American States and civil society umbrella group Broad Front for Peace. Govt welcomed ceasefire but rejected third party verification, said security forces would continue operations; FARC 31 Dec warned that “provocative movements” of state troops could jeopardise ceasefire. Hours before truce entered into force FARC killed five soldiers and captured one in ambush in Cauca department; kidnapped soldier unilaterally released 26 Dec in another “step in the right direction”, according to President Santos. Following temporary suspension triggered by kidnapping of General Alzate, talks in Havana between govt and FARC reinitiated 10 Dec with short-term aim of de-escalating conflict and establishing permanent mechanism to solve future crises. Fifth and last group of conflict victims 16 Dec gave inputs on transitional justice; round ended with commitment to victims’ rights. FARC 18 Dec recognised responsibility for emblematic Bojayá massacre in 2002 and promised reparations. FARC 28 Dec confirmed that Secretariat member and Southern Block commander Joaquín Gómez had joined negotiating team. Santos early Dec called for flexibility to accommodate drug trafficking in connection to political crimes; opposed by Inspector General and opposition. Peace talks with ELN appear remote after ELN commanders 2 Dec referred to continuing “deep differences” with govt, but expectations building again following 29 Dec ELN statement promising “special announcement” for 7 Jan.

Venezuela

  |  5 Jan 2015

Deteriorated
President Maduro’s govt made key appointments with simple majority vote, violating legal and constitutional requirements designed to ensure that nominees are impartial, and installing govt allies in judiciary and other branches of state. Govt 22 Dec appointed new attorney general, ombudsman and comptroller; 28 Dec appointed 16 new judges to Supreme Court, again by simple majority vote. Supreme Court 27 Dec appointed three new members of electoral commission, retaining 4:1 govt majority. Opposition MUD alliance abstained in all appointments in protest. With price of oil continuing to fall, country seen as at risk of defaulting; central bank end-Dec reported economy in recession, inflation at 63.6% in twelve months to Nov. U.S. President Obama 18 Dec approved sanctions against Venezuelan officials guilty of rights violations during early 2014 opposition protests, including cancellation of visas, freezing of assets; condemned by President Maduro, however announcement by U.S. and Cu-ba that countries would restore relations caused Maduro to moderate temporarily anti-U.S. rhetoric. European Parliament 18 Dec approved resolution condemning political persecution in Venezuela, demanding release of opposition protesters.

Guatemala

  |  5 Jan 2015

Unchanged

International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) postponed dialogue on justice reform, planned for Dec, until Jan. Commissioner Iván Velásquez plans to convene authorities and civil society to discuss laws to strengthen judicial sector. Former dictator Efraín Ríos Montt scheduled to face new trial on charges of genocide and war crimes in Jan. Asset recovery court ordered confiscation of 15 properties belonging to accused drug trafficker Jairo Orellana Morales in Gualán, Zacapa and Petén departments. Guatemala and Belize signed 13 agreements designed to restore trust. Guatemala commemorated 18 years since 1996 peace agreements, but murders in post-conflict period amount to 6,000 per year.

Haiti

  |  5 Jan 2015

Risk Alert

Political crisis over long-overdue elections intensified. Thousands of protesters 6 Dec clashed with police in Port-au-Prince, demanding President Martelly and PM Lamothe resign and elections be held; Lamothe resigned 14 Dec, further protests took place demanding Martelly’s resignation. Martelly 25 Dec nominated former Port-au-Prince mayor and veteran politician Evans Paul PM in latest attempt to resolve political crisis. To prevent shutdown of govt if elections are not held before 12 Jan, Martelly reached deal with senate and chamber of deputies 30 Dec to extend their mandate; lawmakers still need to approve deal. Fears of violence if parliament shuts down and Martelly rules by decree.

Venezuela

  |  1 Dec 2014

Unchanged

Support for President Maduro continues to fall amid severe economic disruption threatened by falling international oil prices, critical shortages of food, medicines and other vital goods. Maduro 28 Nov announced cuts in public spending. Left-wing faction of ruling PSUV, Socialist Tide, in open dissent from official line, may form new party. Relations with Brazil and Colombia worsened. Brazil demanded explanations over Venezuela’s former FM signing agreement with its Landless Movement and allegedly recruiting Brazilians for political propaganda in Venezuela. Tensions with Colombia over allegations that murdered PSUV legislator Robert Serra was killed by Colombian paramilitaries in a counter-revolutionary plot. Colombian ambassador claimed leader of “El Colombia” gang who allegedly killed Serra was Venezuelan with no paramilitary links. Venezuela early Nov appeared before UN Committee Against Torture, facing allegations of torture during public disturbances earlier this year. Club de Madrid 25 Nov demanded immediate release of Leopoldo Lopez and other opposition leaders in prison, asked for restoration of rule of law.

Mexico

  |  1 Dec 2014

Unchanged

Amid anger over alleged involvement of local officials in disappearance of 43 students from Ayotzinapa teachers college who disappeared in Iguala, Guerrero 26 Sept, President Peña Nieto 27 Nov announced security policy overhaul that would dissolve municipal police forces, placing them under control of state govts. Other proposed measures included legislation allowing federal govt to take over municipalities infiltrated by organised crime. Tens of thousands of protestors marched through Mexico City 20 Nov demanding justice for students. Protesters and relatives of students blame Peña Nieto’s govt for failing to curb corruption and violence. March mostly peaceful, though some clashes with police. Anger over disappearances sparked further marches, vigils and protests throughout country. Protestors in Guerrero and Michoacán states attacked and occupied municipal buildings, ransacked party HQ, 10 Nov shut down Acapulco airport. Attorney General Murillo Karam 7 Nov announced that members of Guerreros Unidos gang admitted killing of students after they were turned over to gang by police; bodies still missing. Over 70 suspects including three dozen police arrested. Prosecutors say Iguala mayor José Luis Abarca, who allegedly has ties to criminal gangs, ordered police to detain students; Abarca fled but arrested 4 Nov in Mexico City. Eleven decapitated bodies found 27 Nov in city of Chilapa, some 160km from place where Ayotzinapa students went missing.

Haiti

  |  1 Dec 2014

Unchanged

Legislative and municipal elections, already three years overdue, postponed indefinitely 26 Oct as parliament unable to agree on implementation of “El Rancho Accord” signed by President Martelly, opposition parties, and civil society groups in March. If elections not held by year-end, Martelly will rule by decree. Protesters marched through Port-Au-Prince 18 Nov demanding Martelly's resignation and chance to vote. At least one person killed as bullets fired on protestors; some sources claim gunfire from govt forces, others from govt supporters. During 29 Nov demonstration protesters demanded resignation of president and PM. Escalated crime-related violence in different regions. Report of UNSG on MINUSTAH announced peacekeeping force set to downsize from 5,021 to 2,370 in June 2015. UN report 26 Nov revealed 32 died, over 15,000 infected by cholera outbreak during 2014.

Guatemala

  |  1 Dec 2014

Unchanged

Authorities 20 Nov announced arrests of nine people including alleged leader of criminal group Haroldo Mendoza, for crimes including murders and disappearances. Constitutional Court (CC) 19 Nov confirmed appointment of Supreme and appellate court judges, rejecting challenges filed by civil society groups. CC 12 Nov held hearing over irregularities in process, including conflicts of interest, political interference, lack of public debate, failure to investigate candidates’ background; International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) also criticised absence of serious debate and vetting. CC also rejected accusations against lawmaker Gudy Rivera who allegedly pressured appeals court judgeto issue ruling that favoured governing party.

Colombia

  |  1 Dec 2014

Deteriorated

FARC 30 Nov liberated army General Alzate, army lawyer and corporal, whose kidnapping had prompted President Santos to suspend peace talks 16 Nov; despite release of the three, impact of temporary suspension of talks on peace process uncertain. FARC 25 Nov also released two soldiers, captured in Arauca 9 Nov. FARC considered captured military personnel prisoners of war, govt insisted they were victims of kidnapping. FARC’s commander in chief “Timochenko” 24 Nov slammed suspension for “destroying confidence” in peace process. Tensions high after FARC 5 Nov killed two guards of indigenous Nasa community in Cauca; indigenous court 9 Nov sentenced five FARC members to up to 60 years’ imprisonment. Trial criticised by UN; FARC stated regret for guards’ deaths but regard trial as biased. FARC 30 Oct admitted their actions have adversely affected civilian population, but saying they did not target civilians or commit war crimes. Transport paralysed in Chocó after ELN 25 Nov initiated “armed strike” in region.

Venezuela

  |  1 Nov 2014

Deteriorated

MP for ruling PSUV party Robert Serra and assistant murdered 1 Oct; President Maduro accused national opposition parties then group of Colombian paramilitaries of killing Serra; media reported criminal gang perpetrators; several arrested. Police and pro-govt “colectivos” militia Shield of the Revolution clashed in Caracas 8 Oct after detectives from judicial police (CICPC) raided building run by militia; 5militiamen killed; former policeman and leader of “5 th of March” colectivo José Odreman shot dead. Interior Justice Minister Rodriguez Torres, accused by collectives of ordering Odreman’s assassination, dismissed 24 Oct; colectivos subsequently called for National Assembly president’s dismissal, threatened regime. Maduro 28 Oct announced creation of Presidential Commission for transformation of police,additional measures to transform armed forces. Economy further deteriorated with rapid fall in oil prices raising possibility of default on country’s external debt. Process of appointing Supreme Court judges and electoral authority board members moved forward with formation of nominations committees 30 Sept, 14 Oct, complaints they are dominated by members of ruling PSUV.

Mexico

  |  1 Nov 2014

Deteriorated

Federal authorities 19 Oct took over policing in thirteen municipalities in Guerrero and Mexico states. In Guerrero, federal forces, local police continued to search mountains for 43 students who disappeared 26 Sept from Iguala town after being arrested by police allegedly in league with organised crime; authorities discovered 11 mass graves with 38 bodies, identification ongoing. 36 local police, dozens others including members of criminal group Guerreros Unidos arrested; Guerrero governor resigned, authorities 22 Oct issued arrest warrants for Iguala mayor, wife and police chief. Case sparked protests, condemnation by human rights organisations, accusations govt response too slow: thousands 17 Oct demonstrated peacefully in Acapulco; protesters 22 Oct set fire to Iguala’s city hall. Six killed, four arrested in clash between army and civilians in Luvianos State 30 Oct. Govt 1 Oct announced Héctor Beltrán Leyva, reported leader of Beltrán Leyva cartel, arrested; Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, “The Viceroy”, reported leader of Juárez cartel, arrested 9 Oct. Nineteen suspected cartel gunmen killed 21 Oct by police in Tamaulipas state. Two gunmen 11 Oct killed local activist Atilano Román Tirado in Sinaloa state; physician who tweeted updates about criminal violence kidnapped and killed 15 Oct in Tamaulipas state.

Colombia

  |  1 Nov 2014

Unchanged

Further negotiations on transitional justice and preliminaries on bilateral ceasefire opened 24 Oct; FARC 26 Oct proposed creation of “national census of victims” of armed conflict. Prior, FARC had reshuffled its delegation; newcomers include secretariat members Pastor Alape and Carlos Antonio Lozada. ELN 21 Oct released kidnapped local politician from Norte de Santander with message to govt to expedite talks after ELN commander Pablito 15 Oct said exploratory talks made little progress. ELN’s Central Command 20 Oct suggested negotiations would be held separately from FARC-govt talks. Ex-high commissioner for peace Frank Pearl withdrawn from Havana to focus on bringing ELN into process. Tensions between President Santos and ex-President Uribe continued: Uribe accused of hypocrisy over opposition to current negotiations after journalist 4 Oct published article documenting Uribe administration’s attempts to establish negotiations with FARC and ELN. Inspector General Ordóñez 23 Oct called for broad dialogue on peace process between govt, FARC and Uribe’s supporters. Santos agreed with Ordóñez’s three minimum conditions for viable peace: that FARC dissolves as criminal organisation after signing peace treaty, accepts its responsibility for numerous crimes, it attends to rights of victims. National Peace Council 8 Oct held first session since disbanded in 2002, composed of representatives from civil society organisations, indigenous peoples, Catholic Church, govt.

Guatemala

  |  1 Nov 2014

Unchanged

Guatemala Constitutional Court 9 Oct suspended Supreme and Appelate Court judge swearing-in ceremonies to consider legal challenges to process; 18 Oct opened 8-day period for groups questioning selection process to present evidence of irregularities. Appellate court judge Claudia Escobar resigned 5 Oct, denounced political interference in judicial selection process, provided evidence of bribery attempt against ruling Patriot Party congressman Gudy Rivera; Rivera denied accusations, threatened legal action. Supreme Court 29 Oct filed injunction against President Molina and Finance Minister Dorval Carias over financial mismanagement including lack of funds in state institutions, inability to pay civil service salaries. Molina 15 Oct said Guatemala may ease punishments for minor narcotics-related offenses, exploring regulated production of marijuana and opium poppies for medical use.

Ecuador

  |  1 Oct 2014

Unchanged

Thousands rallied for and against President Correa mid-Sept in Quito, after a protest called by largest trade unions federation; at least 15 police wounded, several protesters arrested, of whom 53 remain detained. President Correa 23 Sept forced to reshuffle cabinet due to unexpected resignation of minister of defence.

Mexico

  |  1 Oct 2014

Unchanged

300 members of the newly created Gendarmerie, elite mobile federal police force, sent 8 Sept to Tierra Caliente, Michoacán, to bolster federal forces and a recently created rural police force led by former self-defence militia members. Attacks on journalists continued: assailants 2 Sept opened fire in house of reporter Ignacio Domínguez in Veracruz; reporter Víctor Pérez found dead 3 Sept in Ciudad Juárez; reporter Karla Silva assaulted 4 Sept in Silao, Guanajuato. Federal Congressman Gabriel Gómez Michel kidnapped 22 Sept in Guadalajara, found dead 23 Sept in Zacatecas. Opposition PAN party Gen Sec in Guerrero, Braulio Zaragoza, killed 28 Sept. 8 soldiers arrested 26 Sept over killing of 22 suspected kidnappers in June, charged with military disobedience and breach of duty, 3 of them charged with homicide. Shootout between rival gangs 26 Sept killed 11 suspected gang members near town of Guachochi, Chihuahua. 6 killed 27 Sept when police and unidentified armed men opened fire during clash with students in Iguala, Guerrero; 58 students reported missing following clash; 22 police officers arrested.

Guatemala

  |  1 Oct 2014

Unchanged

Authorities 3 Sept arrested national director of prisons and 6 others following year-long investigation by public prosecutors, police and International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) into alleged collaboration with criminal network led by inmate Byron Lima, ex-army captain serving 20-year sentence for assassination of Bishop Juan Gerardi. President Pérez Molina 8 Sept said would not ask for extension of CICIG’s mandate; VP Baldetti 18 Sept said govt would consult with civil society groups on matter; extension would need agreement between govt and UN, and international funding. CICIG Commissioner Velásquez 16 Sept questioned selection process for appellate and Supreme Court justices citing serious irregularities; critics say process subject to manipulation by political and economic interests including organised crime.

Colombia

  |  1 Oct 2014

Unchanged

29th round of govt-FARC negotiations began 23 Sept; parties 24 Sept published full texts of 3 outline agreements reached thus far in “measure of transparency”. Previous cycle ended 10 Sept; FARC 9 Sept presented proposals on transitional justice. FARC 2 Sept announced creation of “Guerrilla Normalisation Command” to “study the army’s return to its constitutional role” following late Aug govt creation of “Transition Command” to oversee the guerrilla’s disarmament. FARC 20 Sept assumed responsibility for 16 Sept attack on police convoy in Córdoba which left 7 police dead, rejected allegations attack carried out in alliance with Urabeños armed group. Senator Clara Rojas, kidnapped by FARC in 2002 for 6 years, 8 Sept resigned seat in Congressional peace commission in protest at statement appearing on FARC website questioning whether she should be considered a FARC victim. Some 120 Colombian and transnational companies 8 Sept launched large reconciliation campaign “Soy CaPAZ”, first major public statement in favour of peace process from private sector. Left-wing senator Iván Cepeda 17 Sept accused former president Uribe of collusion with paramilitaries and drug traffickers; accusation caused major political upheaval, string of counter accusations and law suits. Govt’s chief negotiator 27 Sept said his communications had been wiretapped illegally. Paramilitary groups Aguilas Negras and Los Rastrojos throughout month issued “hit list” threatening over 150 political leaders, activists and journalists.

Venezuela

  |  1 Oct 2014

Unchanged

President Maduro 2 Sept reshuffled cabinet: FM Elias Jaua, prominent figure on hard left, moved to ministry of communes and appointed “VP for development of territorial socialism” in push toward “communal state”. Economic reformer Rafael Ramírez removed from posts as energy minister, chairman of state oil corporation and VP for economic affairs; removal suggests Ramirez’s economic reform programe shelved. Economic deterioration continued; reported scarcity of basic goods; Venezuelan debt downgraded to CCC+ following slump in bond prices. Jesús “Chúo” Torrealba appointed as opposition MUD Exec Sec following 30 July resignation of Ramón Guillermo amid internal divisions; Torrealba 24 Sept said MUD open to dialogue with govt, but that opposition would intensify “social activism” including national march 4 Oct.

Colombia

  |  1 Sep 2014

Unchanged

President Santos sworn in for 2nd term 7 Aug; promised successful conclusion of peace negotiations in near future but also warned FARC his patience with continued attacks on civilian infrastructure not “indefinite”. 27th cycle of Cuba-based govt-FARC peace negotiations ended 22 Aug with significant progress in transitional justice discussions. Joint statement called first of five meetings between conflict victims and negotiators 16 Aug “watershed moment”; success helped to reduce tensions over composition of victims’ delegation. Clarification Commission on the Conflict and its Victims 21 Aug began working on academic report examining causes and effects of conflict. Sub-commission of military and civilian experts travelled to Havana 22 Aug to start consultations on the “End of the Conflict”, last substantive agenda item. Commission member Gen Javier Flórez 25 Aug resigned from Joint Chiefs of Staff to work full time on peace process. Constitutional Court 6 Aug upheld for second time Legal Framework for Peace, main legal base for current talks. “We are Defenders” activist group 18 Aug reported decrease in murders of human rights activists in first quarter of 2014 to 30 killed, but increase in number of attacks. President Santos 25 Aug called for investigations into “criminal ring” after detained presidential campaign advisor for opposition claimed in 23 Aug interview he received orders to spy, inter alia, on politicians and peace talks. Prosecutor 28 Aug announced 32 local politicians arrested for alleged ties to right-wing paramilitary groups. Authorities 26 Aug released “Popeye”, former head of Medellin cartel hitmen and right hand of Pablo Escobar, from prison, after having served 22 of a 30-year sentence.

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